Last reviewed 1 April 2021

The Government has launched a new review into the early years aimed at reducing health inequalities in the first 1001 days of life.

The early years review, The best start for life: a vision for the 1001 critical days, has been led by Early Years Health Adviser Andrea Leadsom MP and sets out a vision for best practice across the health system to ensure babies and children can get the best possible start in life.

Leading child health experts agree the care given during the 1001 critical days has more influence on a child’s future than at any other time in their life, and experiences during this time have a significant impact on the health, wellbeing and opportunity of children throughout life.

As part of the review, the Government will bring forward the digitisation of the “red book,” which contains babies’ details and information about their growth and development, to April 2023. The review also highlights six “action areas” which are key to improving health outcomes in babies and young children, including encouraging local authorities to publish a clear “Start for Life” offer and family hubs where parents can access early years services.

The Chair of the Early Years Healthy Development Review, Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, said: “Ensuring that every baby gets the best start for life has been my passion for more than 20 years, and I was delighted when the Prime Minister asked me to chair the Early Years Healthy Development Review last year.”

“When we started work on the review, I was clear that the needs of the baby must be at the heart of everything we do. The coronavirus pandemic has put even more pressure on already-struggling families and, just as we need to level up economic opportunity across the country, we need to level up the support and care for the very youngest.”

“The six action areas will have a transformational impact on our society, and I am looking forward to the implementation phase of the review where we will continue to work closely with families and the early years sector. I am confident that delivering this vision will help millions of families to give their baby the very best start for life.”

The full review is available here.